Perishable goods like vegetables, fruits, milk, and eggs won’t be easily available in city markets from December 5, as truck and tempo drivers plan to go on an indefinite strike. It may also result in prices soaring.
The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) and Bombay Goods and Transport Association (BGTA), along with 18 other transport agencies from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, will participate in the nationwide strike. Their demand is to close toll nakas, which have completed their concession agreement, but are still collecting tolls.
“We have exempted transportation of all essential commodities from participating in the strike. But, if the government doesn’t resolve our demand within three days from December 5, then even those carrying essential and perishable commodities will participate in the indefinite strike,” said G Shanmugappa, president, AIMTC.
This means there would be a dearth in availability of all commodities. It might also lead to unnecessary rise in prices of most commodities. According to transport associations, the state would incur a loss of Rs 2,400 crore while the transporters’ losses would be around Rs 1,000 crore in a day.
Some members from the associations feel that essential commodities might become hard to find right from day one. “There are nearly 700 truckers ferrying perishable and essential commodities every day in Mumbai. The drivers would tend to avoid running vehicles fearing harm,” said Girish Agrawal, president, BGTA.
The main concern for transporters is that the government renews contracts and gives new contracts to private companies for collecting toll even though the concession period.
At present, the associations pay Rs 16,000 crore as toll every year for the 72 lakh trucks and tempos across the country. They are ready to pay Rs 20,000 crore at one go if the government abolishes toll system.